Plans forged for sustainability in USAG Baumholder
Members of Baumholder's Directorate of Public Works and the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office visit a power plant to see how energy is created from wood chips -- a method being considered for the garrison.

BAUMHOLDER, Germany -Now that Baumholder has become an enduring community, the time is ripe to map out Baumholder's future and sustainability. This topic has galvanized the imagination of garrison planners and designers.
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Together they are now developing a road map that will help guide Baumholder into becoming not just a sustainable community, but one that is self-sufficient, environmentally friendly and a comfortable, enjoyable place for military families to live, work and play.
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Garrison planners are developing concepts and plans that will not only improve the quality of life for Soldiers and families in the future, but also make Baumholder self-sufficient in terms of heating and electrical energy.
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"One of the aspects of sustainability is to switch to renewable resources," said Sean Lambur, chief of U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder's Plans, Analysis and Integration Office. "Right now all of our heating is from natural gas, and natural gas is not considered a renewable resource. Our other big energy is electricity. At the moment, 21.7 percent of the electricity that is delivered to Baumholder is generated by renewable resources."
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By harnessing sources of renewable energy such as windmills, solar energy, excess heat from existing power sources and switching from natural gas to a wood burning plant that would provide at least 80 percent of Baumholder's heating needs, planners are looking at drastically reducing Baumholder's energy costs in the foreseeable future.
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The Baumholder comunity has already taken steps down the path to creating its own energy on site. "What we're doing right now is installing a cogeneration plant at the swimming pool, which is what is known as a sterling motor. The significance of the swimming pool is that that is one pumping and heating system that runs year-round, as opposed to the heat in an apartment," said Lambur.
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"Anytime you heat water, or heat anything, you've got a lot of excess heat. What a sterling motor does is take that heat and make electricity out of it. So what we're going to do is take that heat that is always running and make electricity on site," said Lambur.
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There are numerous other initiatives on the planning table that will eventually sustain Baumholder in the years ahead. The biggest and most ambitious of these initiatives is the construction of an energy plant that will create energy from wood chips. "OIE, a local energy company, is preparing its final proposal to the U.S. forces, whereby they would build a second plant down by the railhead that burns scrap wood. That plant would provide 80 percent of our heating needs. Scrap wood is considered renewable." said Lambur. The price tag for this plant is also very reasonable. "This proposed plant project would be done with OIE investments. Their plant construction would not cost us anything," said Lambur. The plant would provide 80 percent renewable heating. The other 20 percent would be from natural gas.
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There are all other sorts of ideas on sustainability, for instance the construction of 38 townhouses across the street from the golf course. "These townhouses will replace some of our aging family member quarters. "The big aspect of these townhouses is that they are being designed with energy efficiency to what's called a Silver LEED standard - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Our goal is that all these townhouses meet LEED Silver standards. One of our standards in the garrison is that any new construction and renovation will result in a building that meets LEED Silver standards," said Lambur.
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"So for the first time in the 50 plus years of American presence here in Baumholder any significant renovation or new construction will meet new energy and environmental design standards. It's become a significant part of the design process.
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"Since Europe is strong now on the idea of sustainability, a larger percentage of money for normal repair and maintenance is being spent as an investment to save money, to reduce energy needs and to save on energy costs in general.
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"In past years we didn't know how long we were going to be here, so why invest if we're not going to be here in 10 years'"
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"So the idea of spending money to save money has now come really to the forefront. Being an enduring garrison just gives a lot more priority and focus to saving and energy renewability," said Lambur.
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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16